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Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners

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Project-based homeschooling combines children’s interests with long-term, deep, complex learning. This is an essential experience for children: to spend time working on something that matters to them, with the support of a dedicated mentor. This book is an introduction and guide to creating the circumstances under which children can teach themselves. The author gives parents concrete tips for helping children do challenging, meaningful, self-chosen work. From setting up a workspace that encourages independence to building a family culture that supports self-directed learning to concrete suggestions for a step-by-step approach to inquiry-based investigation, Project-Based Homeschooling shares techniques for mentoring independent, confident thinkers and learners.

168 pages, Paperback

First published June 27, 2012

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About the author

Lori McWilliam Pickert

2 books56 followers
Lori Pickert is an American author living in the Midwest. She founded and ran a small Reggio-inspired school for several years and traveled the U.S. as an educational consultant, training teachers and presenting workshops on child-led education and authentic art. She began homeschooling her sons when they were 4 and 7.

She writes about project-based homeschooling and mentoring self-directed learners at the Camp Creek Blog. An active forum offers continuing support for her readers.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 113 reviews
Profile Image for Elisabeth.
192 reviews37 followers
March 8, 2013
My oldest son is currently in school due to some life circumstances, and that's kindergarten, so we haven't officially homeschooled yet. When we do, we'll more than likely be unschooling. I find the central idea(s) of this book interesting and worth considering for anyone on the homeschooling spectrum. For that reason I'd probably recommend this book to others, but that's honestly for lack of a better book to recommend on the subject. Unfortunately, the book lacks a great deal in its presentation of the concept.

I mean, ok, I get that the author believes that a kid will benefit more from a self-directed project-based education versus traditional schooling or homeschooling. I get too that the author wants me to have tons of materials at the ready, and that I'm to have a light touch of involvement, and show I value the work and the process. Ok. But that's about all I get. Those points and similar ones are repeated not only throughout the book but multiple times over any given two-page spread. And that's the problem. The information that *is* given is repeated so much that the book becomes tedious to get through, and information that is needed to flesh out the topic is simply not there. I think this would have made for a solid article if trimmed down, but some editing and additional info is needed for it to succeed the way it could as a book.

Information I needed that wasn't there:
• more on why an unschooler might benefit from pushing this kind of structure on a kid -- something that typically goes against the unschooling philosophy. The author does suggest that unschoolers should do this though, just doesn't say much on why or how to make the transition.
• is making something really a necessary part of learning? And is that kind of learning really a necessary part of life?
• how does one make this a part of routine if they've otherwise never imposed a routine or goal to their child's work?
• how on earth does anyone give their child full access to all these materials if they also have a toddler wandering around the same space? The answer is not there, but I'm hoping it's not that I have to be non-stop managing my 3yo, overseeing, directing, and redirecting everything he does during waking hours. That's not for me.
• the on-hand materials recommended seem to be virtually only art-based. Is this intentional? Reflective of a bias? For a purpose? What about having science/math/electronics/engineering materials at the ready? Woodworking? Music? Cooking?
• how does anyone have the space for offering all these materials at once and all the projects that result?
• it seems that I'm never to put myself forth as an information source to my child. What if I'm an expert in their area of interest? Or if not, why not begin with the knowledge I have?
• how will they know that information sources exist if I never tell them about them? The library? Friends/family? Local experts? NASA? Food network stars? If I ask my 5yo where we should look for information, he's not going to know the options we have out there.
• How do I model "doing" and project-based living in my own life? I mean literally what would that look like? For one thing I'm lamentably a thinker and not a doer, so I'd like to do more (as suggested) and would appreciate tips, but as far as project stuff, when I find a new topic I'm interested in, I'll read about it, watch about it, sometimes talk about it, but I'm not going to paint about it or sculpt about it, I'm probably not going to write about it either. And I'm an artist. I'm going to recreate faces, animals, and landscapes I find interesting, striking or moving, but I'm not going to make art about Leonardi DaVinci or Pompeii or nutritional science.
• there were a lot of conflicting suggestions such as not praising or being coercive and yet paying extra attention to their projects to show them that you value that work (thereby getting them to do more of it) or staying out of things, yet being involved. I understand there may be a fine line, but the book blurred rather than helped me define that line.

Every page I read seemed to generate "but how" or "but why" or "please clarify" questions.

Having said all that, I do think this is a topic worth considering, and maybe others are better at coming up with their own answers than I am. And despite my lack of clarity, I am likely to take away and apply some of this in my future in homeschooling. So it's certainly worth checking out.
Profile Image for Hafidha.
193 reviews
September 26, 2012
Really enjoyed this book. For me, as a grown homeschooler and unschooler with ADHD (inattentive type) who is now home/unschooling my own young child, this book provided me with that missing piece I needed. That piece was the process of planning projects and getting through multiple drafts, multiple iterations. Iterations is where it's at. It's how you develop your knowledge and improve your work. There is some good advice in here on how to set up workspace, and ways of supporting children in their project work. I've noticed big changes in my child's play since I began doing the things suggested, and I am utilizing it for my own projects! Whether you are a creative type who has really struggled with getting in-depth, or you are a technical type who has struggled with isolation or knowing what to do with all the knowledge you've collected, this book can help you (and your family).

It gets a bit repetitive in the last quarter but I think it's because the author circles back and gets a little deeper into what's previously been stated, and answers questions you might have if you've started implementing the ideas before finishing the book. The book covers project based homeschooling from toddlerhood through the teen years, and is not slanted to one age or the other, as many books on learning are. I also appreciated her holistic approach to learning and her emphasis on creating a family culture that supports learning and creation- not just in name but in practice.
Profile Image for Angie.
11 reviews8 followers
January 21, 2013
If I was made to form one critical opinion on Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners, it would be only this- the title doesn't capture the all-inclusive nature of this book. What the author accomplishes is a refreshing take on life that can be latched on to by literally anyone, not just home educators, as the title suggests. Lori paints a lovely picture of purposeful daily living. Her ideas on creating an atmosphere of creativity inspire me to look around my home with new eyes. Lori puts to paper views I find myself already subscribing to, but she does so in a way that draws me in, rather than making me yearn. I find her steps to be attainable just by being aware of my surroundings. I view Project-Based Homeschooling as an invaluable How-To-Do-Life manual. This book will never be packed away, or given away. This is a book you read with highlighter and pencil in hand. The margins cry out to be scribbled in, as Lori urges interests from even the most tired brain! Enjoy!
Profile Image for Leah.
803 reviews41 followers
March 5, 2013
Rating: 4 of 5

When I decided to homeschool my daughter I didn't realize I would first have to unschool myself. Needless to say, it's been and still is an ongoing process, my unschooling. Spotting Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners on my library's shelf was serendipitous; I needed the specifics almost as much as the confidence boost.

The most helpful aspect of the book, for me, was the "things you might do" section. My notes:

"ideas > work > representation > sharing >
feedback > reflection > new ideas > more work >
new representations > sharing what we've made with others (p 126)"

Daughter decides what matters. I help her experience a project's beginning, middle and end: "the initial questions and wonderings; the collecting of experiences and artifacts; the research and investigation and making of representations; the reflection and self-assessment; and, the sharing with others." My job is to help her ask her own questions, judge her own work, and decide when she's finished (pp.132-133).

"Keys for finishing: Show up. Commit to making the time and using the time; Use small goals to accomplish big goals; Set yourself up to succeed: put a system in place; aim for learned competence (p. 134)."

The only downside was most of the book's examples focused on young children in group environments. I would like to see more samples from older children and teens (age 12+) and a closer look at that age group working alone.

Explore further at http://www.project-based-homeschoolin...
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
20 reviews9 followers
June 15, 2015

Lori Pickert, the author of the inspiring Camp Creek Blog has FINALLY put her thoughts and instructions for Project- Based Homeschooling into book form. Anybody who has read her blog knows Lori has a gift for motivting, challenging and inspiring parents to give this way of learning and living a chance in their homes. For all the wisdom and call-to-action her blog imparts, the downside to the blog format is that posts are written with a very particular topic in mind with no room to expand (that's the nature of a blog post). Many parents, myself included, have the freedom to click around and we often end up piecing together posts that create an incomplete picture of what project-based learning is.

Within the first few pages of the book Ms. Pickert cleared up 2 misconceptions I had about project-based learning from reading her blog:

1) PROJECT BASED LEARNING IS NOT AN ALL-OR-NOTHING APPROACH. I read all the homeschooling books I could get my hands on while my 1st child was still a babe in my arms. So many contradictory methodologies, so many authors telling me their way was the only/best way to educate my child (or so it seemed to anxious mind). Project-Based Homeschooling is the first book on the subject of educating your child I've come across that gives you permission to hold on to whatever methodology you feel is best for your family. She is simply asking us to "devote some time to helping your child direct and manage his own learning." As she says on page 10, "This does not have to comprise your entire curriculum. (Though it can.) It does not have to be the primary focus of your learning life. (Though it can be.)" So if you're fan of Classical, Charlotte Mason, John Holt, Thomas Jefferson Education, Montessori or an eclectic mix, you can continue to educate your children according to their guidelines. You don't even have to be a homeschooler to make project-based homeschooling a part of your life!

2) PROJECT BASED LEARNING IS NOT UNSCHOOLING (although unschoolers certainly can incorporate project-based learning in their homes). Many parents who read Ms. Pickert's blog come away inspired to give what they mistakenly believe project-learning to be, radical unschooling. These parents will do away with rules, structure, routine, deskwork, etc to give what they think is project- based learning a shot, only to end up unhappy with the lack of structure so they swing back in the opposite direction. Again, Ms. Pickert is not asking us to swing back and forth. We can keep our routines, schedules, and drills that add structure to our days. She's only asking that we add project-based learning to the mix.

So how do we make project-based learning a part of our days? In this book we learn how and why to:

-identify interests

-prepare the environment (it's another teacher)

-schedule/routine (it's important to schedule a time for project learning)

-tools and materials (don't worry, you don't have to pull out a loan)

-become our child's mentor and collaborator

-create a family culture of learning based on our family values

-guide our children through the process of research, representations of his learning (how they exhibit what they've learned), fieldwork and play.

-how to talk to our children about their projects

-instructions for what to do when we see they are headed in the wrong direction with an idea (ex: your child is attempting to scotch tape a 10 lb steering to his cardboard car).

-what to do when they ask for help

-dealing with frustration

-Praise and encouragement

-Using questions to start a dialogue

-Getting Beyond the Surface of Learning by learning how to set the pace, extend ideas, collaborating, connecting with our community and reflection

The book has plenty of examples of this kind of learning in action in the form of stories and pictures. At the end of each section she gives you lists of materials and action steps that you can use to start putting these ideas into place in your family's life. She gives you permission and encouragement to go at your own pace and make mistakes along the way. Afterall, the process of becoming a project learning family IS A PROJECT in itself so treat yourself as you should your child. The whole book's tone is one of an encouraging, patient friend who has a passion for guiding parents and children in their own unique learning endeavors.

Do yourself a favor and read this book with a highlighter and pencil in hand. You will find most of your pages will turn yellow or pink as you highlight whole pages of quotes you want to remember. Right down any questions you might have and take them straight to the author herself in her project learning forum.

If your a "latin-loving classicist" or unschooler, if you feel your child's education will prepare him for college acceptance letters and a traditional job but are wondering how to prepare him for the "new economy" espoused by the likes of Seth Godin, Tara Gentile, Chris Guillebeau, Tim Ferris and others, I encourage you to read this book.

In short, this is a book you will want to buy two copies of; one to keep in your book basket for inspiration and encouragement and the other to give out to friends.
Profile Image for Stacy Myers.
83 reviews18 followers
March 3, 2023
Man - I had to push hard to finish this one. It was so boring. 😵‍💫😵‍💫😵‍💫 So many things to say…
I picked this one up, hoping it would be about doing projects (unit studies) in homeschool based around topics. But no. This is one large book about arts and crafts projects with cardboard and other mediums.

The minimalist in me just can’t take it. A space for all the arts and craft supplies and leave it out? Hang everything on the wall? Let them get into any supplies they like?

If you live in a child-led home, maybe. But our home is parent-led and our children come along with us.
Who has the space for all this? With four kids, we’d have stuff on every wall.

Not a good book for minimalists. 🤣🤣🤣

Entirely too repetitive. And also very pie in the sky. Not applicable to down-to-earth homeschoolers.

I consider myself an unschooler but this is excessive. 🤣🤪
Profile Image for Angela Boord.
Author 8 books89 followers
September 17, 2014
A book that fills a definite gap in the homeschooling methodology world. I would have liked to have had some more practical advice included, especially about how to make time for project work, how to get kids started on projects, how to keep a journal/how to do documentation (examples and different ways to do it), and how to do project work when you don't have the "large" space she often mentions. For instance, our 8 kids homeschool in our eat-in kitchen. How to set up a space in that kind of environment?

Overall, though, I've always liked Lori's blog and I liked the book, too. If you're interested in doing child-led projects at home, this is the book to get.
408 reviews
June 26, 2015
I think the ideas in this book are great for all parents, not just homeschoolers, but I didn't love the book. Maybe it's because I've been reading about this stuff for several years and it's not new information. It also seemed like the same concepts were restated over and over within the book. I would have liked to see more examples of actual projects she has done with kids rather than the general guidelines to keep the workspace attractive, materials available, keep a journal, etc.
Profile Image for Emily.
Author 1 book587 followers
December 27, 2012
I found it a bit repetitive, but I like the basic idea of letting your child have ownership over their learning. I just can't figure out how to make it work in our tiny home - I don't have space for tons of art projects to be going at all times with all the supplies out and at the ready. As with all things, I'll take what I can from this and dismiss the rest.
Profile Image for Deirdre Keating.
740 reviews49 followers
July 9, 2012
I've been following Lori Pickert's blog for years, and been wishing for a way to share her ideas in book form. Alleluia, it's here!
Some of the main things I've taken from Lori's writing:
1. Project-based learning is based on trust.
Traditional classrooms rely on the teacher knowing exactly where students will be (or at least hope to be) by the end of the quarter---the answers are already known. In trying to implement Lori's process into our school's honor program, I learned how essential trust was in allowing children an authentic say in what they learn and how they learn it---trust in our children's eagerness to do real work and in their love of meaningful learning.
2. Project-based learning doesn't have to be all or nothing.
I'm guilty of taking a lot of ideas to the extreme as a way to discount them. Yes, PBL is child-led, but that doesn't mean the teacher is just passively following along. I love the way Lori clearly paints the significant role parents or teacher play in supporting and mentoring their students. I'm a big believer in memorization, both math facts and poetry---and my kids aren't going to choose that on their own. But I find that by allowing the majority of their home-learning to be self-led projects, they are much more receptive and enthusiastic about my pet projects.
3. Setting matters.
I love the way Pickert stresses the role of environment in a child's learning. Everything from observing their parent as a reader or someone who creates, or FINISHES projects to the table space and wall display and quality art materials---it all communicates what we value to our chidren much more loudly than anything we could say in words.
The book spells out the different steps in implementing student-directed project, and every chapter has an inspiring list of specific ideas/formats. My only complaint is I want more--- I can't wait to read what Pickert publishes next.
Profile Image for J. Vincent.
Author 5 books54 followers
January 22, 2019
Good topic but could use a more flexible approach for parents. I agree with the author that children should have opportunities to follow their own passions. It's why I wanted to explore PBH, but I don't agree with the "make it as easy as possible for them" approach. I'm not trying to stand in their way. Far from it, but I think it's good for them to learn how to work for things, including what they want to learn. Life has challenges and obstacles, and sometimes a true passion is one that makes it despite those obstacles.

I also work from home, have three kids, and don't have unlimited time or resources to provide a different setup for the kids every time they have a whim to learn something new. Even though, they are all over 10, they still do this: beg for something and then forget about it 10 minutes after they have it. I definitely follow the philosophy that if something is really important to them, they will keep asking and work for it. They are clever enough to figure out what to do with a basic set of art supplies, science tools, and trips to the library. And they can also save for the really important things or work out a deal with us to go halvsies (such as on a laptop).

I'm working on a flexible approach that works in some of the tenets of PBH within the realistic confines of our lives.
Profile Image for amanda.
12 reviews
January 3, 2013
I must admit I was excited about PBH but wondering if there would really be anything new within the pages. From the moment I cracked the cover, PBH drew me in.

Before PBH we did a lot of child led learning, much investigating and research, but I was never sure how to take all that information and research and do something with it. Since reading PBH, we've designated work areas for the kids and I've become better at stepping back and facilitating their research/projects rather than actively driving their research/projects. This has definitely given a boost to our enthusiasm and curiosity.

PBH is hands down my favorite book on homeschooling. Whether you homeschool, unschool, send your kids to school...it doesn't matter. Kids by nature want to explore and research and this book can benefit every family no matter their choices in education.
65 reviews5 followers
September 2, 2013
I'm fairly torn on my review of this one. I've been reading Lori Pickert's blog for a couple of years, and I'm embarrassingly groupie-like in my admiration of what she has to say. But I've gotten more out of her blog and her discussion forums than I did out the book.

The idea of project based learning, as I understand it, is that you don’t go to your kids, and say, “This month we’re going to be learning about the human body!” Or even, “Hey, I see you’re really interested in dinosaurs right now. This month, we’ll tie all of our learning to dinosaurs!”

Instead, if your kid is interested in dinosaurs, you let them take the lead and tell you what they’d like to do with their dinosaur passion. Your job is to be more of mentor, helping them remember what plans they’ve made, providing materials, and gently offering new ideas when they get stuck. The idea is that it’s really valuable to learn how to learn, to be excited about something, to make plans and follow through with them, to overcome obstacles, and that sort of thing. The kid will obviously learn all kinds of interesting, specific things in the course of their project, and if the project is dinosaurs, they’ll probably become a walking encyclopedia of dinosaurs or whatever. But that’s really secondary to the process of learning and making.

The book does do a good idea of getting the idea across. But the forums and blogs do a better job of explaining how to make that idea a reality.

The problem for me, I think, is that there are few examples of specific projects in the book. I remember reading somewhere that Lori did that intentionally. She didn't want parents reading about a specific project and comparing their own child's real-life project to a hypothetical project in the book. And I get that. But it made it hard for me to connect to what the book was saying. The book tended toward repetitive discussion of abstract philosophy instead. And I'm generally all about the abstract philosophy! But I guess I was looking for a more robust dose of how-to to go with the philosophy.

I actually read the book twice, once before we'd started any project-based learning and again after we had a project underway. I found the book more meaningful the second time around, when I was able to mentally apply what she was saying to the actual project my daughter had going. I suspect I would have found the book more helpful the first time if I'd had some representative projects to connect the ideas to.

I think the book also could have been served by a section or two on troubleshooting. The forums tend to be overflowing with discussion of, "All he wants to do is play Minecraft! What do I do?" "She gives up on her interests after a day or so. How do I help her go deeper?" "My space is really small. How can I make this work?" The troubleshooting discussions on the forum tend to be really enlightening, both because the answers are helpful and because they're a nice reminder that, no, it's not going to be textbook perfect for you all the time, but that's okay. I would have liked more about what to do when things aren't working.

And, finally (This is getting pretty long!), I would have liked more discussion of projects that are not necessarily completed with art materials. I've never been a let's-make-stuff-in-the-physical-world kind of girl. Maybe my own daughter will be, but maybe she'll be more like me. Anyway, I know that a project can be anything that's a really deep passion, and the output can be anything - a story, a computer program, a really excellent loaf of bread. But the book sometimes gave the impression that it doesn't count as a project unless art supplies were involved. And I'm pretty sure that wasn't the intention.

I think I'm being harder on this book because I've enjoyed Lori's blog so much over the years. If I had been picking it up cold, I think I would have found it really enlightening. But as it is, I'm going with three stars for the actual book, and five stars for what I've read of Lori's book, averaging out to a four.

Profile Image for Krystal.
395 reviews
August 13, 2014
There were a lot of things I really liked about this book, a lot of things I wish she would have given more examples of, or gone into greater depth about, and a few things that I thought were just plain impossible for someone who had more than two children.

I already do a lot of project-based learning in my homeschool. I like projects. I like hands on. I like having something to show for your time and effort when your through. I want everyone to be able to see and touch and do and make the things we're learning about. I think that makes learning exciting.

What drew me to this book, was the self-directed part of the title. Up until this point, I have mostly been the one to decide what kinds of projects we're going to do, and on what topics. I've always tried to steer in the direction of what my kids are interested in, but I've always been the one controlling the project. I don't think that's necessarily bad. But I have been wanting to let the kids take more of the reins, and really be able to get into what their interests are, and have them come up with the ideas of how to explore the way they learn about those interest.

One of the ideas she suggests to facilitate this self-directed learning, is giving each kid their own space. This is something I've had on my mind recently anyway. Because I've started to notice that none of the kids have a space of their own. If one of them is working on something, whether it be a drawing, a Lego creation, an experiment of some sort, or whatever; if he doesn't finish it in one sitting, it's pretty much as the mercy of his younger siblings. They keep bringing me things that they aren't done with yet, that want to work on later, and trying to get me to put them on the kitchen cabinets or on the computer desk, so the younger kids can't reach them. I can't handle having the piles (along with all the other sorts of piles we already have) all over the kitchen and office space. So, I'm constantly telling them to find a safe place for it that isn't downstairs. Do you know where the things end up? On my bed. Ya. So, I'm realizing that the poor children don't have a safe space of his own, and that I need to provide one.

Pickert's idea of a work space though, is way more than I can provide. She says that you need to keep all kinds of art supplies and building materials close at hand, and easily accessible. You need to display everything they're working on, so it's constantly in view, so they'll be motivated, and remember their ideas. And I see her point. I get what she's saying. But it can't be done at my house. #1 I don't have enough space to devote that much space to each child separately. (Because if they're self-directed, chances are they'll be going in four completely different directions, right?) #2 I can't keep "all-kinds" of art supplies, including paint, markers, clay, scissors, glue... you name it, in a space that is easily accessible. Mostly because of the toddler. And a little bit because I still don't trust the preschooler to be unsupervised with markers, paints, or scissors.

But even though I can't make Pickert's ideal work at my house, I do think I can tweak it a bit to make something similar at my house that will work for us. Because of that, I would consider this a worthwhile read, if you are willing to do some tweaking.
50 reviews3 followers
April 19, 2014
I had a few problems with this book. It's repetitive, it lacks detail and it doesn't expand on concepts nearly enough. This book could be a blog. It could also be expanded into a FABULOUS resource for parents and teachers.
It needs more examples (photos, ideas, extension flow charts). It needs to not gloss over the potential problems (finding resource, finding space, multi age learners) and it needs to give more reasons why.
The summary of the book is that all children should have time to follow their interests and make/create/build whatever they like to represent their learning. Since I work in early childhood this was no revelation to me, this is how we run every day. The book did present some good ideas on how to find the time for project based learning. Basically it becomes an afterschool activity like gymnastics, written into the weekly timetable. Simple.
If you are interested in project based learning this is probably the only book available, so you may have to read it. If anyone knows of a more detailed one I would love to hear about it.
Profile Image for Sara Witt .
180 reviews
February 27, 2013
I struggled with this book because I do use many of the principals outlined with my youngest. It is a great place to start if you are completely unfamiliar with unschooling principals. Like another reviewer, I would have liked to see more examples of projects from beginning to end. Parts were vague and contradictory. How do you tell when a child is done vs. when you need to rejuvenate interest? I like the idea of a creative space but let's face it, not all of us have the room or are willing to turn a space in the home completely over. The space would resemble my children's rooms which are difficult to even walk into 90% of the time for their projects and clutter. While I love having books piled on every surface along with glue hits and paper, part of me is much less stressed when surfaces are clear. A fresh beginning.
Profile Image for Sarah.
66 reviews
September 25, 2012
What struck me the most about Lori's book is how well it already fit the way my son learns. He naturally works in projects, as does my husband. It has helped me understand how they work a little better, and now my focus is on how I can support them and my other children. The last chapter "A Way To Live" was the most revealing, especially where Lori says that most people can easily gather information for a project, but struggle to create, let alone finish it. I see that my boys have a great strength in creating and finishing that comes naturally. It was an exciting revelation! I can't wait to read this one again and again.
Profile Image for Kim Minton.
8 reviews6 followers
September 4, 2013
I picked this book up more because I want to challenge my current way of thinking. It does help do that. I'm a classic overachiever and I tend to push my kids too hard in a strictly academic sense, but I acknowledge that education in that way is really just skimming the surface. This helps challenge my way of thinking and my routines without being overly demanding. She provides suggestions and points you in the direction of finding your child's interests. But since it is child-led, there is no specific, step-by-step directions that is a one-size fits all.

I do think she repeats herself a lot. She may do it to drive home a point. But it can be a bit annoying.
Profile Image for Jude.
32 reviews12 followers
December 31, 2014
Don't be fooled by the title! This book is not just a book on homeschooling, but a guide for those who want to help their children direct their own learning, whether those kids are homeschooled or not. The book will help you help your kids figure out how to plan and complete their own projects, enabling them to self-direct their learning. I also think a lot of these ideas could be useful in assisting you with your own projects. The book is full of good ideas, without the filler you see in a lot of non-fiction books.
January 4, 2014
I was excited to get this book and really agreed with and enjoyed the first chapters. Then it started to get into providing specific areas for our children, areas that are set up well/clean/organised. Also, areas that provided them with everything to nurture their budding talents.
I am turned off this kind of homeschooling mentality because it is something only the rich or that parents of only a few kids can do. I would recommend Alan Thomas's book; "How Children Learn at Home" if you want a great resource.
57 reviews
September 14, 2015
This book didn't live up to my expectations. I found it to be very repetitive, and I think it would have been better named Art-Based Homeschooling. It seems like the author had a system that worked well for her children, but this book really only talked about arts-and-crafts projects (and how "imperative" it is to spend lots of money on expensive art supplies). There wasn't much info for kids who learn in other ways. I think this could be a very useful book for people who learn and homeschool in a way similar to the author, but for people with other learning styles it wasn't very helpful.
Profile Image for Brittany.
70 reviews
February 7, 2019
Despite being recommended to me, somehow this book managed to fill all those pages - and be published! - without actually saying anything. The book is somehow 99% filler. Perhaps the author expected me to be a self-directed learner and figure it out on my own? Well eventually we have to ask other people for help and information, which is exactly why I checked this book out from my local library. After learning exactly nothing about how to facilitate project-based learning, I'm only glad I can return it.
3 reviews1 follower
July 9, 2012
This book is incredible. In addition to teaching how to do project-based homeschooling it's like a manual on how to live. It's going to make a huge difference to anyone reading it. I can't recommend it highly enough. It's like the author is taking the reader gently by the hand and calmly and encouragingly leading them through the approach. It's encouraging, it's inspiring, it's incredibly instructive. It was a joy to read.
Profile Image for Leah Colbeck.
84 reviews3 followers
July 19, 2014
The underlying philosophy of this book resonates strongly with my core reasons for homeschooling so I appreciated that aspect of the book greatly. My disappointment was that the examples focused almost exclusively on kids who learn through crafting/the arts. I'd love to see greater examples and ideas for kids who process information, grow and learn with various styles such as kinesthetic, auditory or scientific means. 3.5 stars
Profile Image for Viv JM.
692 reviews154 followers
March 24, 2016
I like the approach of this book - provide your children with the tools & opportunities to pursue their own interests and then, for the most part, get out their way! I was a bit disappointed that most of the case studies seemed to come from a time when the author was working in more of a school based environment and would have liked more concrete examples of projects worked on at home. Overall, though, not a bad introduction to unschooling/project based learning.
13 reviews
March 24, 2014
This book has lots of practical ideas, but I feel like there is too much detail and not enough personal stories and anecdotes. There were only three or four stories about what kids could do at certain ages. I realize that kids are all different, but it would be nice to have a better idea of what kids are capable of at 3 years old, 5 years old, etc. The format of listing different ideas just gets overwhelming after a while.
Profile Image for Tammy.
192 reviews
September 12, 2012
This book is overflowing with ideas for any parent who'd like to encourage more self-directed learning in their kids. While I don't homeschool, I do want to create an environment that fosters learning, creativity, etc. My best take-away from this book was to rework our kid workspaces, so that they can more easily leave their work visible while in process and even after completion.
Profile Image for Trace.
949 reviews39 followers
Want to read
October 26, 2013
I'm looking forward to reading this. I've been following Lori's blog for quite some time. Also, as part of Luke's curriculum this coming year, I'm introducing him to the concept of the Great Brain projects.... I'll look forward to learning how I can support him in this projects through the ideas in this book....
Profile Image for Beth.
208 reviews4 followers
September 12, 2012

Whether you homeschool or not this book has something to teach you about how to raise thinkers and doers. It has changed the way I think about education and my expectations for both of my kids. Kids need open time to dig deeply into their own interests. Make that time and you will be amazed at what your kids want to know and can do.
Profile Image for Jessica.
117 reviews2 followers
October 11, 2013
This book was very lean on content. The meat could have been covered in a long blog post (and I suspect it was). Half of the pages were taken up by photos of kids' backs hunched over cardboard boxes (and there duplicates too!)

I plan to check out the author's site, but don't see this making a huge difference in my life.
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